′Tis the season to be jolly—but believe it or not, the holiday season can be hard on your body.
First, getting to the stored outdoor lights and indoor decorations can mean tricky trips to the attic or cellar—where large and/or awkward boxes await. The hectic pace of the season usually means that time is at a premium—so getting these tasks done is seldom relaxed and well paced. Climbing up ladders and stepstools while you carry holiday items in both hands is also usually tricky.
To add to these potential hazards, reaching for those things tucked in a corner while you balance on one foot—and twisting your back after a day of repetitive bending—can prove the unwanted icing on the cake. You can wake the next morning with a sore back or pulled shoulder or neck muscles, and that starts the holidays on a bad note.
So here are a few tips to help you avoid holiday soreness:
- When you lift and carry boxes, check your path beforehand so you know there isn’t anything to trip over. Take care when you lift or place boxes overhead and avoid arching your back for leverage. Use a high enough stepstool or ladder so you can easily place something above you.
- If you get a real Christmas tree, ask the retailer to bale your tree for you. This makes a tree much more manageable to put in and take from your vehicle when you bring it home. It also simplifies set up. Once you’ve positioned the tree, simply cut off the baling string and you’re all set.
- A highly recommended and handy device is a remote control system to turn off your Christmas lights outdoors. If you plug your outdoor lights into an outlet that you have to go outside to plug and unplug, this device allows you, instead, to simply push a button on a radio remote from the comfort of your home to turn lights on and off. You simply plug the remote plug into an outside outlet, then plug the light extension cord into the remote plug. No more slipping on icy stairs or decks at night to turn off the lights. There are indoor remotes for items like Christmas tree lights, which can sometimes be an adventure to get to.
- Shopping in malls can also be challenging at this time of year. Large stores and malls are innately draining of a person’s energy. If you don’t do well in crowds or can’t stand well in lines, plan your shopping accordingly. Most stores feature early morning and late night hours. Better yet, catalog or online shopping offers creative alternatives.
- Lastly, wrapping Christmas gifts presents a real challenge for proper ergonomic positioning. Ideally, wrapping small packages on a counter (if you’re standing) or on a table (if you’re sitting) is perfect. However, both size and space availability are often uncontrollable factors. Prolonged sitting on the floor in awkward positions is a frequent route to injury. Remember to change position often and gently stretch your back, shoulders and legs. Decoratively bagged gifts represent a much less physical straining choice. A few sensible plans and actions can make a welcome difference.
Let the jolly, not the folly, mark your healthy, happy holidays!